• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

‘I wanted to retire here’ – Karim Benzema says goodbye to Real Madrid in emotional press conference ahead of Al-Ittihad transfer

‘I wanted to retire here’ – Karim Benzema says goodbye to Real Madrid in emotional press conference ahead of Al-Ittihad transfer

Karim Benzema has bid an emotional final farewell to Real Madrid ahead of a big-money move to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad.

  • Benzema is leaving Real after 14 years
  • Set to join Al-Ittihad on a free transfer
  • He claims he always intended to retire in Madrid

What happened? Real confirmed Benzema would leave the club at the weekend, and the Frenchman played his final game against Athletic Club on Sunday, scoring a goal from the penalty spot. The 35-year-old is set to take on a new challenge in the Middle East after 14 trophy-laden years at the Bernabeu, saying his final farewell to the media on Tuesday morning.

They said: “It’s a bit of a sad day because I’m leaving my club,” Benzema told a press conference. “I signed for Madrid and I wanted to retire here, but it didn’t happen that way. I will always be a Madrid fan. Thanks to the fans who gave me this strength. Thanks to everyone, really.”

Big picture: Benzema has reportedly already signed a lucrative three-year contract with Al-Ittihad, who won the 2022-23 Saudi Pro League title. They managed to overtake Al-Nasser, who currently has Benzema’s former Real teammate Cristiano Ronaldo on their books.

And what’s more: Benzema remembered Florentino Perez as he thanked the Real president for bringing him to the club from Lyon in 2009. (Zinedine) Zidane. It’s incredible,” he said. “The most important thing for me is that I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve achieved like a kid. As I said during my presentation ‘One, two, three, hala Madrid!’

In three photos:

GettyBenzema(c)Getty ImagesVinicius Junior E Benzema Com Medal Has Copa Do Rey D 2022/23 Pelo Real MadridGetty Images

What’s next for Benzema? The former France international has reportedly been offered a one-year extension at Real, but has opted to stay for another season. Benzema will now join Al-Ittihad as a free agent, with a glittering presentation ceremony in the same style as Al-Nasr arranged for Ronaldo in January.

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